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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  May 12, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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tavis: good evening from los angeles. i'm tavis smiley. first up, a conversation with singing legend dionne warwick. in conjunction her 50th anniversary the music business she is out now with a new c.d. "only trust your heart," made up of contemporary jazz standards and also malcolm mcdowell is here. this year marks the 40th anniversary of "a clockwork orange," the stanley kubrick classic is in stores may 31. we're glad you have joined us. dionne warwick and malcolm mcdowell coming up right now. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading.
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>> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer. nationwide insurance is proud to avinjon is tinrk ig to imp financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: pleased to have dionne warwick back on this program. the legendary singer is celebrating her 50th anniversary in the music business with a new c.d. of contemporary jazz standards. it is called "only trust your heart." dionne warwick, good to have you back on this program. >> wonderful to be back.
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thank you. tavis: i can't imagine it has taken you 50 years to do a record of jazz given the voice that you have. why so long? >> you know, it was touted as a jazz c.d. i was as surprised as everybody else was. but it was wonderful. i had the best time recording this. i really did. we did it live, which was my dream to be doing a live c.d. again. tavis: right. >> and the rhythm section that we used is just magic. and everything about it. the songs. the producer. the studio. everything about it was just meant to be. tavis: were these songs that were personal favorites of yours or songs that were introduced to you for the record? >> i was not familiar with the music then all of a sudden i was
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because as a child, i went to see film that frank sinatra performed in that he sang "a pocket full of miracles." of course diana washington. there was a part of that. you know, nat king cole. all of a sudden these songs were a part of my life without even knowing it. then i found a couple that i had not ever heard before. there was one called "if you can dream" that leana honor recorded. -- leana horne recorded. tavis: you are such an original. this is not an original question but i'm curious to get your take on it. you are such an original. how do you take a song that has already been released, some of these songs a few times and put you're on flavor, your own treatment on it? >> first of all, you don't try
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to compete with sarah vaughn. tavis: that's smart. not unless you want to get spanked. with respect to dionne warwick. she is sarah vaughn. >> i grew up around her. she went to school with my mother. but listening to her and her phrasing and of course i was enthralled with ella fitzgerald. you don't try to do what they did because first of all, it is impossible to do. and you just kind of have to be who you are. fortunately, the feel of the lyric has a lot to do with how i choose a song and the melodies of course are very important as well but a lyric has got to move me. tavis: yeah. >> and i just do what i do. whatever i do. tavis: speaking of what you do and whatever it is, obviously it has worked well. a lot of years. 50 years in fact. it has worked pretty well. you might make something of
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yourself if you keep this up. >> think so? i'm going to stick with you. you'll make me a star, right? tavis: taking my advice about your career. speaking of this 50-year journey, what do you make of dionne warwick? have you always been fond of your voice? have you never liked your voice? i know what i think of it. what we all do as fans. what do you think of your voice? >> first of all, i know it is a god-given gift. that is very important to note and realize. i happen to be a good mixture of my family. i come from a family of gospel singers. i think i have a little bit of each one of the members of that particular group instilled in me. saying the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree. so i am hopeful and i guess it has worked for 50 years so far that i'm able to bring a bit of soothing relaxation to people.
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also get them stirred up if i have to through vocals. tavis: i'm glad you said that. you grew up in a church. you come from a gospel family. i grew up in a church. as many of us did, certainly in the african-american community. when you think of gospel music you don't necessarily think of a soothing voice. when you think of gospel, you don't think of that dionne warwick sort of sound. tell me how that gospel influence ends up being transmitting through your voice, in stuff that is moving and soothing and soft. you're not a screamer. >> there are moments when i wish i could do what aretha does. tavis: patty labelle. >> wow! i think it is because -- the way that i happen to feel about a lyric, how i approach it and i remember vividly sitting in the studio with leslie uggams, recording her.
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she is one of those powerhouse singers. and i looked at her and said you know what? i want you to look at that microphone and when you look at it as danielle, your baby. you will not sing at her like that. you will give her a little bit of -- just calm it down. you know, i don't know if the songs that i have been able to record may have a lot to do with it. mm-hmm. >> but it is a message being given and even in speaking with people. if you want to give them -- i need some advice on that, you don't scream at them. you know, you kind of think a minute. then you come up with whatever it is. in fact, people have said will you say that again because i couldn't hear you.
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tavis: i think i hear you suggesting this but i want to ask, how much of your success over this 50-year period, these five decades has to do with picking the right songs, not just lyrically, i know how important lyrics are to you but picking the right song for your voice? >> you know, i have been a very, very blessed young lady. i must say. my career began and was very successful with two songwriters. bacharack and davis. tavis: for your voice. >> and every producer i've had since then have been very, very much -- they did their homework. where i could go. why i should go there. they didn't try to stretch me any further than they knew i had the ability to go. so i didn't really have to worry
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about choosing and picking. it was brought to you. tavis: that is a blessing. >> that's what i said. i'm truly blessed. tavis: yeah. just recently, not too long ago, you and all your friends got together for the first time in 25 years. at the big gala, 25 years since "that's what friends are for." i wish i could have been in the room that night with you and stevie and elton and gladys. what was that like when you gote together 25 years later? >> we have seen each other over the period of time but standing together on stage again and to recreate what we did in that studio t. thrilling. i became an instant fan. i'm looking down the line going these are some of my friends. it w wonderful. tavis: did you have any idea -- maybe -- i don't know how you could have. maybe you did. maybe you're psychic like that,
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that that song would have the kind of impact and raise the kind of money that it did? >> you k heard e song, i was -- basically the first time ias k c bacharach to record, he and carol. that night after i left their home listening to 1,000 songs, "night shift" was on television. and heard the song being sung by rot stewart. next day when went back to the home, i said i noticed the song "that's what friends are for." they said where did you hear that song? they said now four of us know that song. [laughter] >> you, carol, bert and rob. i would loove to record it. they said that is a doable
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thing. i said i really want to include some friends. they all know how friendships are very, very valuable to me. they said yeah, ok, fine. i called gladys first. and she was home, she had just had foot surgery. i said i'm doing a song called "that's what friends are for." she said count me in. i ran into elton at the supermarket. i said what are you doing tomorrow night? he said i got a party i'm throwing. i said can you record with me? he said yes, i'll be there. stevie was in new jersey visiting family. i said when are you coming home? he said i'll be home tomorrow. wisaid great. ome to studio and that wa tanesis of it. : i love your stories. ran into elton johat supermarket. and you end up recording a hit that raises millionors dollars for aids research.
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the funny thing, speaking back to this record, "only trust your heart," you're doing some covers obviously. you're doing some standards here. the fact that "that's what friends are for" had been recorded three or four years prior by rod stewart. no disrespect to rod stewart, that song didn't hit at all. you record it and it just kills. >> that's what it is about. it is about being a friend. i think the beauty of that song is not only of course helping the aids situation, it is being used at births, at graduations, at parties, frnds who are going away and coming home. it has taken on a whole new genre of what really it is all about. tavis: are you going to be doing some "only trust your heart" on the road? >> absolutely. we already are. tavis: you're already out? i got to get a copy of the dates so i can make my way. >> we're going to be in palm
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springs the day after tomorrow. tavis: cool. i'll find you. you'll be out for a while? >> yeah. tavis: the crowd won't let you. not with you singing standards like these. the new project from dionne warwick is called "only trust your heart" celebrating 50 wonderful years in the music business. you will love it, add it to your collection. always a delight to have you on this program. thank you, darling. if you get a chance to go on your computer and go to a place for greetings cards and i have my own line of cards now. tavis: greeting cards. when you find time for greeting cards, i don't know. >> they are doing lovely. tavis: i promise you, i will check it out along with the dates you are going to be in concert. great to have you on. up next, malcolm mcdowell. stay with us.
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malcolm mcdowell is a talented actor known for roles including the stanley kubrick classic "a clockwork orange." on may 31, a specific 40th anniversary d.v.d. will be in stores commemorating the film. here now a scene from "a clockwork orange." >> very refreshing. i'm pleased you appreciate good wine. have another glass. >> thank you, sir. >> my wife used to do everything for me. >> your wife, sir? is she away? >> no, she is dead!
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tavis: i was saying to you that when i look at this,al he the cover of this blu-ray edition of "a clockwork orange," the photo grabs you out of the -- but you have this interesting eyelash but only on one eye. i was commenting to you on that and you were about to explain it to me. what is the story behind this photo? >> the story is i was watching up this street in kensington . i thought oh, my god, i got to get that for stanley because i was going out to see him. tavis: uh-huh. >> i went out and showed him this thing like this and he said that's great. put it on. [laughter] >> oh, ok. so i put one on and he took a
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photograph and i put both on and he took a still photograph and he called me the next day and he goes i don't know, there is something really weird about that one eyelash. we'll use just the one eyelash. you look at your face and there is something not quite right. that's why we used that. tavis: it is amazing to me in some regards how when you hear these stories about how things came to be in films that go on to be classics. you're walking down street and get this just for him and it ends up being part of the character. >> a very important part and he's right. it is sinister without shoving it down your throat. it is like when we did -- the picture has become a real classic. we could not figure a way to do this beating up of the writer without it being a naturalistic and boring fight scene. so we sat on the set for five days and he would not turn cram
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-- camera until he found the answer to it. he asked me on the fifth day and said can you dance? by this i leapt up and said ki dance? ♪ i'm singing in the rain." he grabbed hold of me and stuck me in his car and he bought the rights to "singing in the rain." we did the whole sequence. it took a week to shoot. it didn't make gene kelly very happy but i'll tell you, it became a very important part of the movie and it was just from, you know, just an improv that suddenly, if you have a director that is open to that, and you know, complete bound by, you know, he was lucky. it is kubrick. he can take as long as he wanted. tavis: to your point now, i want to get back to the movie in a
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second but since you were talking specifically about him, tell me about stanley kubrick. >> well, he was an extraordinary intellect. he wasn't really -- i like to say he was a sat irist rather than a humorist. a brilliant cameraman. you can see that in his movies. one thing that is extraordinar about stanley, i think, is that he didn't just do a one genre movie. we didn't just do science fiction or horror or things like that. he did everything. pe mastered them. he did costume pieces. period pieces. comedies. i mean the run that he had. from pounds of glory, to p -- sparticus to lolita. tavis: the shining. >> in 2001. exactly.
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he took every genre. it is so different, and he made one of the great movies in that particular genre. we're talking really, look, favorite movie director of all time, he is a god to me. but john ford sort of stuck with the western pretty much. pretty much. although of course he made other films too but kubrick never really repeated. it is pretty amazing really that he had such an immense intellect. what was interesting about him was that he is the only director w w erorked th who w veetnt somhing new in the s genre, a film making itself. in other words 2001, i mean, he inventsd, you know, certain cameras. certain this, that and the other to accommodate what he wanted. all the lights in "a clockwork orange," for instance, it is one-source lighting. what you see on the screen, the lighting is what it is. there is no bounced light or
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filler light. he got these very high energy bulbs from germany and he used them in the movie and so, you know, we could shoot in very low light and it was amazing. tavis: for you, stanley kubrick fans. it is not just that "a clockwork orange" is out on its 40th anniversary in blu-ray. there is a brand new limited edition collection of some of his best stuff that i'm lucky enough to have a copy of that is going home with me tonight. thank you for bringing that for me. i appreciate that. back to "a clockwork orange." obviously you do, but recall for me how controversial this film was. it ends up ultimately being nominated for four academy awards. it was a controversial film mainly around violence. it was rated x in the united states. >> it was silly, really.
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i think stanley cut 12 seconds to get an r rating. of course it is not violence in the ketchup sense, blood and gore. it is violence seikaly. -- psychologically. it is a film that will last forever because of its content because it is always relevant. put down to one sentence, you say what is this film about? it is about -- it is about the freedom of man to choose. now burgess makes the antagonist an immoral man, which is a dilemma for us because us liberal thinkers think how dare -- surely if the man is a murderer, why should we make freedom his condition? but the thing is it is very important that, you know, we don't allow big brother, the state to take over whatever it is.
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a man should be free to choose and that's what this is about. tavis: what did playing this character malcolm, do to you or for you in terms of us seeing you as a sinister and sadoy character? >> well, -- shad owey character? >> well, my mother wasn't too happy. she said can't you ever play any nice parts? i do have to admit she had a points. i lived in notting hill at the time. i used to go get my newspaper every day. i knew them four or five years before the movie came out. when the movie came out, i went into the news agent and saw the same gang and he literally went aaahhh! [laughter] i'm like it is me! no, no, i'm not like that for god's sake. people just think that you're, you know -- which i suppose is a
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back-handed compliment. tavis: yeah. it is. it can be but it can also lead to typecasting in this business. >> well, hello! [laughter] tavis: played a few heavies. exactly. >> unless, you know, you do a sort of straight romantic role and it is a huge hit, they are not going to ask an english person, by the way, to do too many of those. we make great germans. russians. any heavies. dope dealers. serial killers. i have done them all. one i did a few years ago. i had to go to kiev in the ukraine to play a serial killer who was a pedophile and a cannibal. he ate his victims as well. it was based on a true character. tavis: while i got you here before i lose you real quebec. tell me about "never apologize". >> question yes, this is an amazing story. it is this little film that
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could. it is a documentary directed by my dear friend mike cab lan who i met on "a clockwork orange." we did a festival. it is about my relationship with lindsay anderson and i wanted to do this. i wanted to tell people who he was because i felt that he -- he was a real genius and people have forgoten the movies did with him. "oh, lucky man." did a one-man show on stage. played 35 characters including bette davis, so it is my tribute to my relationship with him and using his diaries and clips and a menagerie of stuff. it was very well received at cannes. i went to the premiere with quentin tarantino. he is quite a big guy. he picked me up like this.
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i know he loved it. that's a recommendation. tavis: speaking of tradition, there is a new limited edition of some of his best stuff and some of it includes "a clockwork orange," ho years later now out on blu-ray starring of course one malcolm mcdowell. great to have you on the program. that's our show for tonight. until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi. i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with the legend betty white on her new memory rory " you ask me. that's next time. we'll see you then. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a >> thank you. >> you help us all live
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better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and removing obstacles to economic empowerment one nationwide is on nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more.
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